The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a psychoeducational group programme on inpatients with depression. We compared the attributes and Inventory Scale for Mood and Sense of Fatigue (SMSF) scores of 45 people who participated in the programme (participation group) with those of 37 people who did not participate (control group). Further, we investigated the rate of readmission 6 months after discharge and the number of patients in the participation group who had consulted a psychiatric social worker. Statistically, there were no significant differences in the SMSF score between the two groups on admission and at the time of discharge. The programme had no effect on the readmission rate. However, the SMSF score of the participation group significantly improved from the start of the programme to patient discharge. Furthermore, improvement of depressive symptoms, feeling of recovery and adherence were found in the participation group. The programme seemed to provide a psychotherapeutic effect for the patients and promoted cooperation with occupational therapist and other specialists in the hospital. The efficacy of psychoeducation in preventing recurrence of depression remains to be demonstrated, and methods of investigating effective approaches for this purpose need to be considered in the future. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.